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Ethnobotanical uses of wild medicinal plants by the local community in the Asi Ganga Sub-basin, Western Himalaya



Himalayan region is rich in biological diversity and the communities residing in the region largely depend on it for food, healthcare and other livelihood practices. Use of various floral species in healthcare remedies play significant role on the life of the Himalayan peoples. The present interview based study was conducted in the Asi Ganga Sub-basin of Uttarakhand in the western Himalaya. A total of 60 respondents (31 males and 29 females) from the seven selected villages of the study area were involved in this study. We documented use of 76 wild medicinal plants in primary healthcare remedies by the local community. Maximum species (9 species) represented to the Rosaceae family followed by family Lamiaceae (4 species), Ranunculaceae (3), Berberidaceae (3), Pinaceae (3) and Ericaceae (3 species) respectively. The study observed that the traditional healthcare system was still prevalent among the people and mostly preferred before allopathic treatment. However, the knowledge on medicinal uses of plant species was restricted to elderly members of the community and the younger ones were unaware or knew very less about such practices. Transfer of traditional knowledge system (TKS) to the new generation was restricted to a very few individuals and seems to be declining, which could be a key reason behind limited knowledge on traditional practices among the younger members. Apart from the use in healthcare, many of these medicinal plants were important for livelihood of the community residing in the Asi Ganga Sub-basin, as it was contributing about 35-40 percent of average household income. However, the utilization pattern for economic benefit was perceived to be very critical for the sustainability of these valuable resources and associated traditional practices.

Key words: Asi Ganga sub-basin, biological diversity, livelihood, medicinal plants, traditional knowledge, Western Himalaya

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